If you think Miami has got nothing but night clubs and restaurants, think again. The hotspot of Florida in the USA, Miami is a tourist’s heaven and there is no end to the list of places to visit and activities to do. If you are planning a visit to Miami, better make it one that stretches for a few days for a single day would never be enough to comb this paradise.
Getting there:- Flights land at the Miami International Airport and the moment you walk out of the airport, you will pretty much get an idea on what lies in store for you here. The streets are fairly congested and driving may not be the best way to get around the city, especially if you are a somber driver.
Alternatively, you can choose the public transits in the form of buses, rails and metros that stretch across the entire city. A budget conscious traveler would definitely opt for the Tri Rails which are double-decker trains and cover the entire city at a reasonable cost though it may take you some more time to get to the actual destination than if you were traveling by buses or taxis.
Bike rental agencies are also popular and it is not uncommon to find loads of bikers driving road and mountain bikes near the beaches. Or if you choose to stay in the water for the most part of your vacation, hire a boat from the numerous boat rental agencies around the city. Depending on your fancy, you can hire standard sailboats, catamarans, luxury yachts, power boats or wedding charters.
Places to Visit:- Miami has something for everyone from adults, teens to kids and small toddlers. Some of the more famous areas to be visited include:
South Beach:- If you are a lover of the beaches and night life, Ocean Drive in South Beach is where you need to head out to. Considered as the hub of the city, the area is filled to the core with fancy restaurants, cafes, happening night clubs and shops.
Shop and party till you drop in famous boutiques and stores or take a walk hand in hand through the Espanola Way and have an idea of what a Historic Spanish Village looks like.
Animal and Fish Habitats:- There is not one, two; but a total of 5 different areas in the city you can visit for some fun time with animals and fish alike. Claimed to be one of the best zoos in the nation, the Metro Zoo in Miami is sprawled over 300 acres and houses more than 1300 animals. The zoo conducts numerous shows for visitors, the more popular of them being the tram tour, wildlife show and the feeding demonstration.
If you are driving through the Biscayne Bay, then stop by at the Sea Aquarium. Get a chance to get to know about the sea creatures in more detail through various interactive shows organized by the staff while you spot a whole lot of other animals, tropical birds and reptiles as well.
For those who love to be out in the wild, the Everglades beckon with their marshy swamps and dense jungles. A total of 1.5 million acres, the park is one of the most unique areas in the US and houses nearly 15 endangered species of animals.
Even though a part of the area is restricted, visitors are allowed access to trek, camp and canoe in the other parts of the jungle. Beware of the American Crocodile and the Florida Panther as you trek through the forests.
While you are here, don’t miss out on the alligator shows and boat rides organized by the Everglades Alligator Farm. Who knows? You may get the rare opportunity to handle a baby alligator.
Walk in a caged pathway while more than 400 monkeys run around in the loose in the Monkey jungle. It would look as if you were the exhibits, not them, as they scamper over your heads and look through the sides as you pass them by.
A colorful feast awaits you in Parrot Jungle Island where in addition to mingling with various animals like crocodiles, orangutans and tigers, you also get to see a striking display of tropical birds.
Miami’s Array of Museums:- If the above mentioned places and activities tend to tire you out, you can always head inland to visit some really amazing artifacts on display in the numerous museums scattered across the city. If you need to have an idea of what old age trains used to look like, you can visit the Gold Coast Railroad Museum which showcases some of the most antique and treasured locomotives and carriages of ancient times.
The whole family can have an awesome experience at the Miami Museum of Science which has in recent times, added a lot of interactive exhibits for children. You also get a chance to spend some time at the Weintraub Observatory and the Bird of Prey Research Center.
Your kids will definitely love the Miami Children’s Museum which with a practice of “Play, Learn, Imagine, Create”, would definitely enthrall the entire family. Among the various exhibits that take up almost the entire space of a two storey building, there is a two storey sand castle your kids can explore, a supermarket where they can play shopping and a pretend TV studio they can work as anchors.
Vizcaya:- Your visit to Miami can never be complete without a visit to this mansion that sits on 50acres of plush gardens. The castle is built in European style and is a common venue for marriages and other grand events.
Speaking of gardens, how could you miss out on the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden? Touted to be the one of the finest gardens of its kind in the world, the park houses some very rare varieties of plants which include cycads, vines, and flowering trees.
The Splendor of Coral:- A structure that is truly one of a kind is the Coral Castle built by Ed Leedskalnin. Estimated to weigh around 1110 tons, the monument is a must visit attraction if you are willing to make the long trip downtown to reach it.
The John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park (an underwater park) is also a place well known for its splendid display of natural coral. Visitors can travel in glass bottomed boats and get to see beautiful coral pass by underneath. Snorkeling and scuba diving tours are also conducted by the staff for swimmers to explore the corals underwater.
Duck Tour:-At the end of the day, if you wish to just relax and roam around the city at the same time, take the Duck Tour around Miami. A chance to move around the city on wheels and boats, especially through Biscayne Bay, the tour will take you through some of the most beautiful sights of Miami including the coastline, the port, Fisher Island, the beach and the Millionaire’s Row where you get to view the homes of famous celebrities.